5 out of 5
Brilliance, and exactly because it’s so baldly upfront about what it’s doing.
Referencing Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis stops being clever after approximately some time in high school, and maybe middle school if you’re one of those types; doing social commentary on the mindless nature of office life is, sadly, never tired, but also never really brings anything new to the table: being in a cubicle can be dehumanizing; working for the ‘man’ sucks.
Prince does an Ice Cream Man horror jaunt through such commentary, using Metamorphosis as a reference point. Hilariously, though, it’s in reverse – hence the mixed up title – with Greg starting as a roach and then becoming human, and that gives the cubicle humor a brilliant twist as well: as a cockroach, ‘Grg’ loves living in a box, feeding on scraps; as a human, Greg (automatically granted a wife and a job, as per ICM logic) is more puzzled by all of the “extras” humans have to deal with on top of secure box-living-and-scrap-feeding, such as marriage counseling, and a touchy lower back. The irony this point of view provides is amazing, and once more nails the whole every-day terror vibe in the unique fashion of which this book has, at its best, proven capable; Greg’s tale is horrifying, in part because he finds some odd joy in the parts we might focus on as the worst.
The dark visual look of this issue also shows how far artist Martin Morazzo and colorist Chris O’Halloran have come, with a really subtly nuanced color palette helping to bring out the cinematic flair Morazzo provides in his panels.
Definitely one of the top issues of the series.